The term “cloud” has been introduced to the world of tech and networking for a long time. What does “cloud” refer to? What is Cloud Computing and why is it becoming more and more popular over time?
What is Cloud Computing?
For a simple understanding, consider the entire internet as a giant cloud surfacing around the globe, while users can use this cloud to share information over the network easily. Cloud computing in a more complex form can be described as the sharing of resources, software and information from your devices over a network where it can be stored in remote servers and used as required.
Cloud computing is more common than you think. When you use an online service to send emails, documents, stream movies and mp3, play games, or store pictures, it involves cloud computing (CC). The information you store on the ‘cloud’ can be accessed from anywhere if you have a solid internet connection.
Types of Cloud Computing:
There are three main types of cloud computing we will discuss here.
1: SaaS: SaaS or “Software as a Service” is a web-based service/hosted service used for delivering centrally hosted applications over the internet on a subscription basis. For example, Microsoft Office is a type of subscription service offered through the Office 365 suite. Other examples include Google Apps (Gmail, Google+ etc.), Amazon Web Services, and Salesforce.com etc.
2: PaaS: PaaS or “Platform as a Service” is a cloud computing service that provides a platform for users to develop and manage applications. It includes an operating system, database, web server etc. Popular examples include Google App Engine. Windows Azure, Force.com etc.
3: IaaS: IaaS or “Infrastructure as Service” proves computing infrastructure, physical and virtual machines, file-based storage, IP addresses, virtual LANs etc. For example, Google Compute Engine, Amazon EC2, Rackspace etc.
How Cloud Computing Works:
Cloud computing has made it easier to access and store data from more than one device. But how is it making this all possible? Now we will delve a little deeper to understand how cloud computing works.
The base of CC is a provider. Usually, companies rent access to servers that can store data safely. For example, Google Drive is a basic user interface for storing data offsite. But cloud computing services are not just limited to data storage. They are offering more complex platforms for software development, running operating systems etc. These are becoming increasingly popular in the market.
We can divide the CC system into two parts. The front end and the back end. Both are connected to the internet. The front end is used by the client to access the cloud computing system. He can access it using any type of device that consists of the necessary application for access. The back end is the actual “cloud”. It includes the computers, servers and storage systems. It can store all kinds of data related to various applications regardless of the type of application. Each application has its own server and is flexible to use. Some platforms combine online and offline features in one service.
The whole CC system is managed by a central server that manages all the traffic. It directs client demands and runs through the server by following a particular protocol and using middleware. Middleware is a type of software used to help connect online computers and allows communication between them.
Since CC services have multiple clients there is a larger demand for storage space. So how does the service provider solve this issue? Cloud computing services use a technique called virtualization. It allows the system to manipulate the server to think it is actually multiple servers operating at once. This helps to reduce speed the need of extra machines and in return also gives maximum output.
Uses of Cloud Computing :
Cloud computing as stated before is becoming increasingly popular. Here we will discuss some of its major advantages due to which it is becoming more preferable.
- Saving Money: constantly having to buy hardware for storage and licenses for software can prove to be expensive. While on the other hand cloud computing allows users to get the same features at low price. Switching to virtual setups has helped businesses to save money.
- Offsite access: with the help of cloud computing you can move your tasks offline. As a result, your service maintenance is carried out by the service provider, therefore, local IT teams don’t have to worry about it.
- Faster service: accessing cloud services is generally easier for companies. However, they do depend on the internet but the work is carried out more efficiently.
- More secure: cloud computing provides more secure services even for smaller companies. It all depends on choosing a reliable service provider. Some servers even offer backups to stored data.
- Ability to operate on the larger scale: with the help of cloud computing companies can easily expand their businesses by purchasing more cloud services. This helps to expand their customer base and offer more services to customers. For example Xbox Live, iCloud, Apple etc.
Cloud gaming platforms are also becoming increasingly popular. These are essentially platforms for online gaming. It is highly useful for users as they no longer have to buy and download disc’s that take up too much space. However, most cloud services operate through apps as this acts as a portal to access data from the servers. Others only require a browser to access the website for example Gmail.
The uses of cloud computing are what make it so popular. An estimation made by Gartner states that by 2021 more than half of the global companies using cloud computing will have switched to maximum use of cloud computing than other services. On the other hand cloud computing is improving over time making it more likely to become a global trend for businesses.